The chimney sweep is much in demand in August;
His wife seems increasingly irritated by my phone calls.
I feel like reminding her that I intend to pay him,
But I don't in case she speaks ill of me to him.
I remember when he came last year he had a bad back.
He was cheerful and his mate did all the work.
They taped newspaper over the fireplace opening,
Then used a vacuum cleaner to suck up the soot.
I'm always afraid the chimney will catch on fire
And we'll be burned to death in our beds, screaming.
I tell the chimney sweep a watered down version
To encourage him to clean the chimney extra well.
But the chimney sweep tells me I'm being daft:
'You'd never burn to death,' he assures me,
Rubbing his back and checking his messages.
'You'd already be dead of smoke inhalation.'
John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.